More women in Dorset are turning to longer-lasting contraceptive methods such as the coil, implants and injections, figures reveal.

But with sexually transmitted-infection (STI) rates rising, the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV said people should consider if their choices are protecting them from STIs.

NHS Digital data shows 3,605 women with a preferred main method of contraception attended a sexual health clinic in Dorset for it in 2018-19.

Of these, 57% chose long-acting reversible contraception, up from 53% the year before.

The contraceptive pill remains the most used method for women in the area, with 34% electing for it. Across England, it also remains the most common, although the proportion has been declining over the years.

NHS guidelines say the pill is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy if it's taken according to instructions.

Of the short-term options, 34% were on the pill, compared to 38% one year ago, and 7% used condoms, up from 6% in 2018.

Women wanting a more permanent method can get a copper-emmitting intrauterine device – more commonly known as the coil – which can last for up to 10 years, or a hormone-based intrauterine system, for up to five years.

The implant, which is put into the upper arm, lasts three years and is easier to remove than the coil. A contraceptive injection covers a shorter period, lasting eight to 13 weeks.

In Dorset, 22% of women said they were using the coil or intrauterine system as their main method of contraception, while 27% opted for the implant and 8% for the injection.

Across England, fewer people are getting contraception from their local sexual health clinic, dropping from 1.87 million in 2014-15 to 1.40 million in 2018-19.

Dr Asha Kasliwal, president of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, said the 25% drop shows that women and girls appear to be “finding it harder and harder to access essential contraceptive services”.

“This is evidenced in worsening indicators in women’s reproductive health – almost half of pregnancies in Britain are unplanned or ambivalent. Abortion rates for women over 30 have been steadily increasing for the last 10 years,” Dr Kasliwal said.

Across England, 311,000 women requested the pill at sexual and reproductive health services last year, down from 427,000 in 2014-15.

A total of 352,000 women now use long-acting reversible methods, up from 346,000 four years ago.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “We have a strong track record on sexual health with teenage pregnancies at an all-time low. Contraception is the best way to avoid unintended pregnancy and we are pleased to see uptake of long-acting reversable contraceptives has increased.

“Prevention is at the heart of the NHS Long Term Plan, and comes alongside the £3 billion we are giving to councils to fund public health services this year, including sexual health services and school nurses.”